The beginning of U.S. and NATO military attacks on Libya came as a surprise to most Americans — not least anti-war and pro-peace voters like myself who have supported President Obama as a candidate and now as chief executive. I was at the start, and remain, deeply concerned about the path the president is choosing.
There is a strong anti-war case for staying out of Libya. These kinds of No-Fly Zones always end in troops on the ground. Intervening in a civil war is almost always a miscalculation of the situation on the ground. The American system of checks and balances does require congressional authority for the use of war powers. Adherents to traditional foreign policy logic would argue that there is no specific U.S. national interest at stake in the outcome of the Libyan uprisings. We seem to have entered the conflict without an obvious exit strategy already in place.
But I have come to believe that the alternative would’ve left many of us asking: why did we let another massacre of civilians happen again?
I believe that there is a pro-peace case for intervention in Libya based upon our responsibility to protect innocent civilians. If you are a pacifist this argument will never be satisfactory. But if you believe there are limited circumstances in which military force is necessary, this may be one of those circumstances.
The reality, which has yet to be explained directly to the American people by the president, is that the Army loyal to Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi was racing across the Libyan Desert intent on killing all of the rebels who have taken control of the Eastern part of the country and invade the opposition’s capital city in the Libyan port of Benghazi.
Gaddafi was promising a bloodbath — threatening, in essence, to murder the families of thousands of rebel fighters. On the eve of the United Nations Security Council resolution vote, the lunatic dictator said that, “We are coming tonight… We will find you in your closets… We will have no mercy and no pity.”
When the U.N. voted and the U.S. decided to lead the coalition, Gaddafi had the means, motive and intent to murder thousands unless somebody stopped the Libyan Army’s offensive. The president decided to stop that military attack on civilians. The question that President Obama was given was this: is this a genocide about to happen on my watch? Does the U.S. let Benghazi become another Srebrenica?
In Srebrenica, Serbian forces and paramilitaries murdered more than 8,000 Bosnian men and boys in July of 1995. The prosecutor found that even male babies were killed. It was the largest mass murder in Europe since World War II. The mass killing was followed by the forcible removal of nearly 30,000 women, children and elderly. This was after a United Nations Protection Force failed to stop the invasion of the town.
This was not the first time the international community has wrestled with these issues. President Clinton stated that the failure of the international community to intervene in Rwanda was one of the biggest regrets of his presidency. More than 800,000 people were killed in the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.
Gaddafi’s threat to the civilians in Benghazi was and is very real. The city of some 700,000 is the capital of the opposition Libyan government. Early during the rebellion, mercenaries were sent by Gaddafi to kill opponents of the regime — murdering them and destroying their homes.
read full news from www.huffingtonpost.com